For the environmentally conscious homeowner, going solar might be a no-brainer. But before acquiring solar panels, you need to find out if your roof can support such a system. Likewise, roof design is a priority if you plan to go solar once your new building is complete.
If you’re looking to replace the roof with solar panels, consider partnering with Premier Improvements, a go-to firm in Connecticut with experience spanning over two decades. The firm also offers insights into the ideal roofing materials for PV (photovoltaic) and thermal systems.
Solar systems have a 25- to 30-year lifespan. Thus, the best roof material is one that can support the panels for their service life or longer. With that in mind, the experts at Premier Improvements consider the following roof materials as ideal if solar is top of mind:
1. Metal Standing Seam
The standing seams on metal roofs simplify the process of attaching solar panel arrays. This leads to lower installation costs and makes this material a great pick.
For starters, the roofer doesn’t need to drill holes into your roof, which may compromise the roof’s integrity and lead to leaks. Plus, you may opt for standard panels or thin-film-based systems.
Metal roofs are also incredibly durable and weather-resistant, making them an excellent long-term investment. In other words, with proper maintenance, you can expect your roof to stay intact for over 50 years. Thus, you can install solar panels and maximize their service life without replacing your roof.
Often, metal roofs are fashioned from recycled materials, making them a great option for eco-conscious homeowners. Plus, they’re available in a variety of colors, helping revamp your home’s aesthetics.
Metal roofs have a reflective surface that prevents light absorption, except for the ones hitting solar panels, thus making your home cooler. Thanks to improved thermal performance, metal roofs reduce the energy consumption of your cooling system.
That said, expect to pay more for metal roofs compared to other materials. Plus, the noise produced during a heavy downpour may be bothersome if you’re not used to it, although your panels can act as partial sound barriers.
2. Shingle Roof
Shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in the U.S. owing to their versatility and low cost. Plus, they’re easy to find, implying you won’t have a hard time finding solar-compatible shingles.
All the same, composite shingles are a better option if solar is on your mind since it’s more robust than asphalt shingles. The former are made from a mix of laminate and slate, making them less prone to heat damage.
A contractor needs to drill holes in the roof for wiring and studs, although the holes are small enough not to compromise the integrity of your shingles. They then seal the gap between the panels and the studs, including the holes, to prevent water leakage.
Shingle roofs are a great option for sloped roofs, which also works well for solar panel systems. They’re also easy to install, making them a great choice if your budget is limited. Plus, shingles are available in various colors and textures to fit your home’s style.
Generally, composite shingles have a life cycle of 40 to 50 years, which is more than enough for a solar panel system. Unfortunately, asphalt shingles have a lifespan of about 20 years, although they can last longer if well-maintained.
3. Tar and Gravel Roof
Tar and gravel roofs are a good option for installing solar panels because they are sturdy and reduce energy consumption due to their reflective properties. And since they have a 20 to 25 service life, they’re prime candidates for solar panel installation. Tar roofs are also a budget-friendly roofing option, allowing you to maximize your investment.
Plus, they are incredibly resilient, making them ideal for areas prone to extreme weather. However, tar and gravel roofs require special mounting hardware due to their flat construction. Specifically, your panels should be pitched and oriented to the south, with a tilt angle between 30 and 45 degrees.
Your contractor needs to drill holes in your roof and seal them using a rubberized asphalt or mastic sealant. This helps protect the roof from leaking while allowing secure attachment of the solar panel array.
Don’t get caught up in choosing the perfect material over another as you could miss the forest for the trees. Sometimes, good is enough, and it’s okay to proceed without striving for perfection – as each material offers benefits and has some downsides. The idea is to ensure a professional solar system installation so you can get the most out of it for years – that’s what counts.
What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof